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Nancy Powaga
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 |  August 21, 2020

At its core, technology exists to make certain tasks faster, cheaper, and easier to perform, all while delivering better results. Machine Learning (ML) is no different; the task it optimizes is identifying improvements and solving problems.

From Netflix to Salesforce to Twitter, many of the world’s largest and most valuable companies are investing heavily in ML, betting on its value with their bottom lines. In fact, analysts expect corporations to commit $12.3 billion to machine learning by 2026, up nearly 5x from the $2.5 billion spent in 2017.

But what about everyone else – all those companies that don’t have billions of dollars to commit to hiring ML engineers, developing proprietary AI, and building their own ML programs? How can we democratize ML so that even the smallest and most ambitious companies can get into the game and start using ML to improve how they do business?

That’s where Machine Learning as a Service (MLaaS) comes in. Offering ready-made tools that can be easily adopted and fitted to various business needs, MLaaS removes many of the barriers that previously prevented smaller companies and their teams from tapping into the power of ML, including time, budget, and – most importantly – the ability to code.

No-Code MLaaS democratizes the power of machine learning 

No-code platforms like AppSheet are the backbone of MLaaS, and for good reason. With a no-code platform, anyone — regardless of their technological prowess or experience — can build robust applications that are driven by ML algorithms to solve problems, increase productivity, and deliver a healthier bottom line.

These no-code development platforms extend the power of software development beyond the IT department to empower non-technical employees like business leads, employees who run on-the-ground processes, and subject matter experts to create customized business applications without writing code. 

Equipped with no-code development platforms, “citizen developers” play pivotal roles in building apps that help move their teams and companies forward. Empowering non-technical workers to build their own solutions also frees up IT to focus on key strategic objectives, and helps eliminate the knowledge gap so that the workers closest to the problems are equipped to solve them directly, no matter their level of technical experience.

4 steps to unlocking your MLaaS strategy

With the democratizing power of MLaaS and a no-code platform like AppSheet, you can embark on a new IT strategy that future-proofs your organization’s tech stack from the ground up and delivers continuous optimizations to every facet of your operations.

Here are four key tips for unlocking IT’s new MLaaS strategy:

Plan

No-code MLaaS can optimize mission-critical processes across your entire organization. That’s a powerful prospect. The technology gives business leaders the insights and ability they need to revamp old tech stacks and future-proof companies from the ground up without re-starting at square one.

No-code platforms make it easy for all employees to create custom applications that enable app creators and app users to tap directly into data sources. For example, data resting in a spreadsheet or database can be surfaced for strategic trends and predictive insights that can help shape that department’s strategy. 

This direct connection between the data and the non-technical workforce enables citizen developers to transform the way work gets done, fully automating tasks and eliminating process gaps. But no-code doesn’t leave IT in the dark. Quite the contrary. The IT department establishes and maintains the governance guardrails for app building organization-wide.

Without any coding experience, employees can create apps that not only extend the life and value of your legacy systems, but also bridge the gap between them, making it easier to connect  older systems with newer technologies so your organization can plan for the future and be prepared for whatever’s next.

Invest

A decision to use a no-code platform is an investment in your organization and IT department. MLaaS eliminates the pressure of developing ML systems and constantly creating and testing new business apps through the IT team’s workflow, relieving the strain on over-stretched developers. This frees up time for IT to focus on what they do best: Keeping critical processes and strategic initiatives humming at maximum efficiency.

With MLaaS, the role of planning and execution moves from the IT and development teams to the people across your organization who know your company’s challenges best – from sales and marketing to HR and operations – all while supporting technical innovation and organizational growth.

Evangelize

The next step in any MLaaS strategy is to identify early adopters in your organization and get them on board. Who will see the most benefits from creating no-code apps? And how can you sell them on this solution?

The key here is to help them understand the game-changing value of solving problems at an unprecedented scale by thinking creatively and building their own solutions. No-code MLaaS puts the control back in the hands of your employees, harnessing untapped problem-solving potential.

Everyone across your company can perform better when they feel that leadership empowers them to make decisions and equips them with the tools they need to succeed. That’s exactly what we mean when we talk about the democratizing power of MLaaS.

Iterate

ML apps get smarter the more they’re used; that’s why it’s called Machine Learning. And the people who create these apps do, too.

Perhaps the most important step in any MLaaS strategy is iteration. ML doesn’t just help your business run better; it continuously surfaces insights about your operations that you may never have even considered.

As a result, app creators learn what’s possible and iterate more quickly using MLaaS. That means that your digital transformation isn’t a one-time event; it is a constant, ongoing process of improvement and optimization every single day so that your apps (and the people who create them) will perform even better tomorrow than they did yesterday.

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Nancy Powaga

Nancy helps app creators build and learn with AppSheet.

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